Angelique Kerber Makes a Comeback: Fighting for the United Cup with Alexander Zverev

After a year and a half of being a mom, Angelique Kerber is returning to the tennis tour. The former world number one is fighting for the United Cup alongside Alexander Zverev.

Just a few days after Christmas Eve, Angelique Kerber was working on the training court again – on the other side of the world. The contemplative moments with daughter Liana on their first Christmas together at home were quickly history. In Australia, where Kerber landed with his family on Tuesday, the United Cup is finally about sporting competition again.

After around a year and a half of maternity leave, Kerber (35) is looking forward to her comeback – and wants to celebrate again at the national event alongside her teammate Alexander Zverev. On Saturday morning Central European Time the German team will face Italy, and on New Year’s morning France will be waiting in the fight for a place in the quarter-finals. And Kerber and Zverev, the three-time Grand Slam winner and the reigning Olympic champion, are scheduled to serve in the singles matches.

For the former, the duel with Italy is nothing less than the start of “the biggest challenge of their career,” as Kerber told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “It’s a process, it won’t work without patience,” said the former world number one and admitted that he couldn’t seriously assess his own level of performance: “I have no idea, I’ll say that quite honestly.”

Angelique Kerber: Reactivated the old coach for the comeback

On Saturday, after their tricky opening match, Kerber should be at least a little wiser. Her game against Jasmine Paolini, number 97 in the world, is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. (CET). And despite all the imponderables – Kerber feels “ready”, as she confessed before the holidays when asked by SID: “The training went according to plan and the anticipation for the start of the season in Australia is increasing.”

For a successful comeback, the Kiel native, who last played on the tour in Wimbledon in July 2022 and became a mother in February, has, among other things, brought back her old coach Torben Beltz. The timetable is clear: United Cup, WTA tournament in Adelaide and then the first big highlight in the new career phase – the Australian Open, which Kerber won in 2016.

Zverev’s focus is also on the major in Melbourne, as he continues to hunt for the first Grand Slam title of his career. The top 50 player Lorenzo Sonego will probably be waiting in Sydney after Kerber’s game on Saturday.

Tennis: The United Cup national competition is taking place for only the second time

Zverev wants to take the next step in the new tennis year. The comeback season after his serious foot injury in the summer of 2022 went very well, but Zverev was not always the winning player of yesteryear in 2023. The United Cup is also a welcome test for the 26-year-old.

The mixed nations competition is being held for only the second time. 18 teams from all over the world will compete in Perth and Sydney, after the obligatory two singles matches there will be a potentially decisive mixed doubles. The first in each of the six groups of three as well as the two best runners-up in the preliminary round ultimately qualify for the quarter-finals of the ten million dollar tournament at the beginning of January.

In addition to Kerber and Zverev, Maximilian Marterer, Tatjana Maria and Laura Siegemund are also registered for the German team and want to do better than in 2023. Back then, it was over after two preliminary round defeats.

2023-12-27 12:05:00
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